Riverbed upgrades boost big WAN transfers

Riverbed upgrades boost big WAN transfers

New hardware and software upgrades aimed at data centers and disaster recovery

Riverbed Technology is announcing at Interop New York software and hardware upgrades that are focused on optimizing traffic between data centers.

The software upgrade introduces a feature called Disaster Recovery Mode that automatically recognizes massive data replication such as might occur when a business is getting a backup data center prepped for an emergency. It then applies the appropriate mix of optimization techniques to reduce this type of mass data movement.

These techniques include packet compression, TCP optimization, application acceleration and data reduction. For the latter, the operating-system software analyzes and stores large traffic patterns locally, eliminating trips across the WAN.

Also at the show, Riverbed is announcing a new model of its Steelhead appliance that has more than twice the disk space of its previous largest box. The Steelhead 6120 has 3.1TB of disk space vs. 1.4TB in the Steelhead 6020.

The software upgrades are part of the new RiOS 4.1 operating system that runs the Steelhead appliances and include encrypting data stored on the devices to boost security for the data.

The way Riverbed data reduction works, the appliances store patterns of data locally that may recur during a data transfer. When a pattern comes up for the second time, the appliances send a shorter reference for the data over the WAN and the complete pattern is inserted from the disk on the other end.

Previously the data stored on the devices was fragmented but unencrypted. The new software can encrypt the data using AES encryption and stores the keys in an encrypted vault on the machine.

The new device is meant for replication between data centers, as opposed to transfers between a branch office and central site, so it supports fewer connections, 4,000 vs. 40,000. The Steelhead 6120 is based on the same chassis as the 6020, and costs the same, US$120,000. It will be available Nov. 15.

Other software upgrades include support for optimizing Oracle 11i by taking into consideration its unique characteristics and handling it differently from the way Riverbed handles other traffic. In particular, it decrypts the traffic before it crosses the WAN from one Riverbed box to another and applies its battery of optimization techniques to it. Without the Oracle 11i-specific software, the scrambling that is a standard part of the Oracle traffic would prevent full optimization, the company says.

This complements other software modules Riverbed makes to streamline specific application traffic, including CIFS, NMS, MAPI, HTTP, HTTPS and MS-SQL.

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